Thursday, February 28, 2008

Life... and ramblings

It's been a long week... and a long day.
Coming down with a cold isn't the best way to top it off, either.
But I was reminded today that God's choices for every day of our life are always better than what we would choose for ourselves... even in the little things.

I spent part of the week at the Capitol, growing absolutely sick of hypocrisy and lies. Some days working with politicians isn't so bad. Other days I remember why some people say the word "politician" with such a tone of disgust. They must have been badly burned. It has been a struggle this week to know when to exercise "grace" and when to exercise "truth".... when to be wise as serpents and when to be harmless as doves. I can probably count on one hand the times in my life when I have been really *mad* - this week has been one of them. Next week isn't looking much better on that front. But we'll see...

I spent today at the hospital with a friend who was having a baby. She was a trooper - got induced with Pitocin and didn't even get an epidural!

At the very same time as she was birthing her beautiful baby girl, other friends were calling with news of a miscarriage. They have tried to get pregnant for *years*... what a bitter disappointment.

It was hard to coo over the new baby, hug the new mother, and then step out into the hallway and listen to the other side, all in the a matter of ten minutes. But I wouldn't trade my life for anything. Motherhood changes a women for life... and I love seeing it happen over and over again, even when sometimes I have to join with a bitterly disappointed mom and cry with her.

I've got to go, and take care of myself so I will get better... I'll try to post something worth reading tomorrow.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Little Sisters... the Spice of Life!

are such
a hoot!
that life
is never,

The Hunters spent part of last week with us,
and all of the younger girls in our family had
a blast with their two girls, Julie and Tonya.
Below, they're all having fun posing in front of
Ruth's camera. : )

And to top it off, Ruth falls through the kitchen floor....
No, really this was staged.

We have this trap door in the corner of the kitchen,
and Ruth "practiced" falling through it while Liz
video taped her. (She had a lot of bruises and scrapes
the next day since she had to repeat the fall about 15
times to get it perfected on camera!)

The girls have been talking about doing a "documentary"
about our family life "when the shades are drawn and
the visitors go away..."

They say that this would be one of the opening scenes!
I think it would be incredibly funny, but I'd definitely
want a say in what makes the final cut! : )
...And Ruth wanted you to know that she thinks that
this picture is embarrassing and she really didn't want
it on my blog, but finally gave me permission to post it,
because I told her that everyone would enjoy it!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Little Girl

she ran to the park to play,
her face uplifted to the sun;
That day...
while I
aware of brewing storms
that etched the sky,
clutched at a fear
and nursed it.
Then I
saw her hand
like a small child;
and while I watched,
Another Hand
reached down and clasped it.
I heard the distant thunder
with a smile.

~ Ruth Bell Graham

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ozarks Ice Storm in February

On Monday night, the Ozarks were blanketed in several inches of rain, sleet and then more freezing rain. It meant that we lost our electricity for several days, but it also provided us with a chance to take the camera outdoors and capture some of the beauty!

The apple trees didn't fair too badly. (Some of the other trees lost a LOT of limbs.)

The frozen pond below our house

A fence... heavily laden with ice!

Some of the horses who live here. Some of them liked the ice, and some of them didn't!

Ahhh! Horsey "ice angels"!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Will

Laid on Thine Altar, oh my Lord Divine,
Accept my gift this day for Jesus' sake.
I have no jewels to adorn Thine shrine,
Nor any world-famed sacrifice to make.
Yet here I bring within my trembling hand
This will of mine - a thing that seemeth small,
But Thou alone, O Lord, can understand
How, when I yield Thee this, I yield Thee all.
Hidden therein, Thy searching eye can see
Struggles of passion, visions of delight,
All that I have, and am, and fain would be,
Fond hope, deep love and longing infinite.
It hath been wet with tears and dimmed with sighs,
Clenched in my grasp till beauty it hath none.
Now from Thy footstool, where it vanquished lies,
The prayer ascendeth, "May Thy will be done."
Take it, O Father, ere my courage fail,
And merge it so in Thine own will,
That e'en if in some desperate hour my cries prevail,
And Thou give back my will, it may have been
So changed, so purified, so fair have grown,
So one with Thee, so filled with peace divine,
I may not know it, feel it as mine own,
But gaining back my will, may find it Thine.

Author Unknown,
Streams in the Desert, Vol 2

Thursday, February 14, 2008

When Divine Wisdom Becomes Ours

Not until we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God's holiness and sovereignty... acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts, and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom be ours.
J. I. Packer


The greatest sufferer that lives in this world of redeeming love, and has the offer of heaven before him, has cause of gratitude.
-- Albert Barnes

Monday, February 11, 2008

On Meekness

I've been enjoying Matthew Henry's book,
The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit.

Pg. 73 -

[Meekness] makes us fit for any relation which God in His providence may call us into. Those who are quiet themselves cannot but be easy to all that are about them; and the nearer they are to us in relation and converse, the more desirable it is that we should be easy to them. Relations are various as superiors, inferiors, and equals; he that is of a meek and quiet spirit is cut out for any of them. Moses was forty years a courtier in Egypt, forty years a servant in Midian, and forty years a king in Jeshurun; and his meekness qualified him for each of these posts, and still he held fast his integrity....
Meekness would greatly help to preserve the wisdom and due authority of superiors, the obedience and due subjection of inferiors, and the love and mutual kindness and serviceableness of equals. A calm and quiet spirit receives the comfort of the relation most thankfully, studies the duty of the relation most carefully, and bears the inconvenience of the relation (for there is no unmixed comfort under the sun) most cheerfully and easily.

[Meekness] makes us fit for any condition according as the wise God shall please to dispose of us. Those that through grace are enabled to compose and quiet themselves are fit to live in this world, where we meet with so much every day to discompose and disquiet us....Prosperity and adversity have each of them their particular temptation to peevishness and frowardness; the former by making men imperious, the latter by making men impatient. Against the assaults of each of these temptations the grace of meekness will stand on guard. Being able to pass through this world "by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report," that is, through a great variety of conditions and treatments, we have need that long-suffering and kindness, and love unfeigned, which will be the armor of righteousness on the right hand and the left (II Cor. 6:6-8) ....It is the continual happiness of a quiet temper to make the best of that which is.

In showing mercy...

In showing mercy,

the Divine Majesty does not

consult your unworthiness

but His own unbounded goodness

and incomprehensible love.

- Unknown

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More Random January Pictures

A church trip to volunteer at Voice of the Martyrs in Bartlesville, Oklahoma ...
Of course, evenings are the most fun when everyone sits around and does things like... watch elections results, and tornadoes moving through your home county while you're not there!

Putting together packets for the Bibles Unbound project at Voice of the Martyrs.

Mike Huckabee comes to Missouri!

Former AR Governor Mike Huckabee came to Jefferson City... Ruth and Joanna were thrilled with the chance to get their picture taken with him. And doubly excited when their picture with him showed up on the front page of the Jefferson City News Tribune the next day!

Gov. Huckabee came to Springfield and spoke to a crowd of about 2,600 a couple of days later. Jemima and Liz got to go along with the "little" girls to this event and got some of their things autographed. Here Gov. Huckabee is signing the newspaper article for the girls.

Another activity with young people from church - singing at the Missouri Veteran's Home.

Random January Pictures

Our family takes entirely too many pictures! There are hundreds for January alone! How am I to sort out a couple for the blog to summarize the month? I can't, so here's a few random ones to enjoy! : )

We got several hundred pounds of natural peanut butter very cheaply ($10 for a 40 pound box!) and shared with everyone we knew!
Sam thought it was a lot of fun to scrub up to his elbows and mix up each box!

My brothers work at the Anchor Academy for troubled boys, so when they came to a nearby church to sing, of course we had to go hear them! Here are a few of them, and a couple of staff members.

This year we celebrated Suzanne's birthday by going thrift store shopping all around Springfield.
As you can see, we're experimenting with hats and fashion coordinating!

Mom and Sam having some together time on the computer. : )

Friday, February 8, 2008

Rediscovering the Bible on CD

My room has been a mess for several weeks.
I'm rarely there to see it, so I guess it hasn't bothered me as much in recent days.
But it had to be cleaned today, throughly cleaned, that is.
So I rolled up my sleeves and played the Bible on CD.....
Listened to the books of Daniel and Hosea.

I'd forgotten how much I love listening to large portions of scripture.
It gives me a much larger picture of the Mind of God and His sovereign working all through history. Daniel probably felt as though God was just moving him around as His pawn... And look what a plan God had! I'm sure Hosea didn't feel thrilled about his "assignment" from God, but he did it. It thrills my heart to KNOW that God is moving me, too, around like His little chess piece. And that He knows what He's doing, and every move is part of His bigger plan, if I will just let Him move me around.

I can't wait till I have a car with a working CD player.
It will make my many, many hours of driving so much more worthwhile and enjoyable.

If God's offended you...

Often times people you meet talk about how offended they are with the things God has done to them, the things other Christians have done to them, how hypocritical the church is, how they have been hurt, how bad things have come their way in life....
Their conclusion is always, "That's why I don't ___."
(Fill in the blank - believe in God, go to church, read the Bible, care about pleasing God...)

Rarely do people like this stop and think, "How have *I* offended GOD?"

That is the question.

Not, "How has God offended me?"

If God's offended you, you can shake your fist in his face today.
But just remember that He doesn't answer to you.
You will answer to HIM someday.

Why are Christians so afraid to step on toes with such a message?

The Danger of Love

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of
your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."
-C.S. Lewis

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Food for Thought

We turn to God when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.
-Charles C. West

There is no human wreckage, lying in ooze of the deepest sea of iniquity, that God's deep love cannot reach and redeem.
-John Henry Jowett

If you wish to be disappointed, look at others; if you wish to be disheartened, look at yourself; if you wish to be encouraged, look to Jesus.

The Christian's task is to make the Lord Jesus visible, intelligible and desirable.
Len Jones

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.
G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, February 2, 2008

New Year's Party - Games!

I spent a lot of time trying to come up with some fun games for the New Year's Party that were a little different than the same old games like Charades and "Catch Phrase" that nearly everyone has played before. Our "Best Answers" game was something new we tried this year... and it was a hit with nearly everyone, I believe!

We prepared a number of questions that required thoughtful answers, like,

~ "What influences in society led to the Holocaust in Germany?"
~ "What are the differences between gas and diesel engines?"
~ "What will you do if you are alone, away from a phone, and a child in your care has eaten
poisonous mushrooms?"
~"Name four of the presidential candidates and their respective states from each party's ticket."

We split the approximately 30 young people into five groups and sent each team to separate rooms to try to create the best answer to the question. All the teams received the same question at the same time. The answers (consensus of the team) had to be turned in on paper within 5 minutes to a panel of judges (the parents) who evaluated them based on their correctness, originality, practicality, clarity...
Whichever team's answer won received a point....

The judges doing some serious deliberation... is it better to be completely correct, or to explain your answer thoroughly?

And the winning team is....
Judge Janusz presents the winning team with a package of chocolates

The party was winding down, when we began dishing up ice cream.
Some looked on skeptically. "We're going to do what?"

A few brave souls agreed to participate, and allowed themselves to be bibbed and blindfolded.
They seated themselves across from their chosen parter, each with a cup of ice cream...
Ready, set, go!
The race was on! Which pair would finish feeding each other all of the ice cream first?

Eric and Max finished first, albeit rather sticky and chocolatey!

New Year's Party - People

People are what make a party fun!

~ Jeanette and Christy goofing off ~

~ Zaiah being admired by one of his little friends, Devin ~

~ Rosalind... who spent the evening grinning at everyone ~

New Year's Day

As I posted earlier, we attended a wedding on New Year's Eve. We also attended a wedding on New Year's Day in the midst of our preparation for hosting our annual New Year's Party at our house that evening.
Landen and Rachel Keeler...
"for better for worse... for richer for poorer..."

New Year's Party!

Unfortunately, we didn't get any good group picture of every one together at the party... but the house was stuffed! None of these pictures accurately depict how many people there were.
I hope none of the guests were prone to claustrophobia!

A lively game of spoons was enjoyed by many, once the crowd thinned out a bit!

Zaiah, Mr. Janusz, and Mr. Martindale, enjoying a laugh and finishing a pillow fight!